Norfolk and Chinese schools create a real ‘dream team’!
Chinese teachers and students visit Thorpe St Andrew High School as part of international exchange and idea-sharing programme for developing young leaders
At the end of April, Thorpe St Andrew High School welcomed visitors from the Chinese city of Chongqing. Two teachers and four students visited Norwich from China’s fourth municipality. With a population of 30 million in the municipality, it’s the fastest growing place on the planet, yet this modern forward-looking city is a name still unfamiliar to most people in the UK!
The visiting teachers and students are part of an inter-school exchange that has already taken Norfolk students to China last October. The visit is part of the Dreams + Teams School Partnership, which is managed and developed by the British Council and the Youth Sport Trust. Dreams + Teams uses sport to develop international Young Leaders and establishes partnerships between schools around the world. Young Leaders in each country, plan, organise and deliver sports festivals for hundreds of local young people. By running these events the Young Leaders are challenged to demonstrate leadership, be active citizens in their community and value and promote cross-cultural understanding.
The visiting students worked alongside students from years 10 and 11 to organise and manage a morning of competitive sports for year 7 pupils, joined Thorpe St Andrew School China Club to plan and deliver a range of cultural skills to pupils from Lionwood Junior School and enjoyed evenings with their young hosts and their families. Meanwhile, their teachers were exploring the ways that Thorpe St Andrew High school develops its students as independent and creative learners and gathering practical ideas to take back to school in China.
As well as experiencing the school curriculum from a sporting perspective, in a packed programme the visitors enjoyed some of Norfolk and East Anglia’s unique features. Situated in the centre of China, Chongqing is far from the sea and understandably the visitors expressed a fervent desire to see Norfolk’s stunning coastline. They enjoyed the spring breeze and sandy beach at Holkham bay, the serenity of Walsingham’s shrine and gardens, a ride on the Wells to Walsingham light railway and rounded off the day with a stroll along Cromer Pier and a fish and chip supper eaten on the prom’.
This visit is certain to have been a highlight of the school year for all concerned and a life-shaping event for the young people involved. Principal Ian Clayton summed up the exchange saying.
“Real bonds of friendship and mutual respect have been forged between everyone involved in this exchange. During this week-long visit many of our students and staff have enjoyed both working and relaxing with our guests from Chongqing. We have learned so much from and about, each other’s cultures and I am convinced that the international bonds of understanding that have been created will continue to develop and strengthen for many years to come.”